VIDEO AND PICTURES: Tour hailed an '˜amazing' success as thousands flock to see world's best women cyclists race in Derbyshire
Thousands of people flocked to Chesterfield on Saturday to watch the prestigious OVO Energy Women's Tour start and finish in the town.
The tour returned to Derbyshire for a second successive year with the 123-kilometre stage also passed through Wirksworth, Belper, Heage, Crich, Glapwell, Bolsover and Staveley.
Some of the world’s top cyclists from 17 teams are taking part in the race, with Australian Sarah Roy of the Orica-Scott team winning stage four in Chesterfield.
The stage started in wet conditions but concluded in the dry, helping to bolster the numbers which had lined the route as the peloton headed into the town.
And speaking after the stage had finished, Chesterfield Borough Council’s deputy leader Councillor Amanda Serjeant said the race had once again been an ‘amazing’ success for the town.
She said: “The people of Chesterfield have shown today that they love sport, they love women’s sport and they love cycling. It was the right decision to bring this women’s tour back to Chesterfield and this time we’ve not only had the finish, but the start - that way a lot more people were able to come along. “We’ve had schoolchildren today having a ride and getting involved. We’ve been able to make a big family day of it. It’s been amazing.”
Coun Serjeant said the event helps to put Chesterfield in the national spotlight, describing it as ‘fantastic’ for the people who live here as well as drawing in visitors from elsewhere.
“It puts us on the map and showcases what a fantastic place Chesterfield is to live and to work,” she said. “We have had people coming here from all parts of the country who have never been to Chesterfield before and say ‘this is a really great place to come, maybe next time I will come for a holiday’.
“It’s bringing money into the town. Local people are coming in and spending and because we had the start and the finish, they’ve been spending their money all day and keeping that pound local supporting our town’s economy.”
And with two successful stagings of the tour in Chesterfield, the councillor is ‘hopeful’ cycling fans in the town will be seeing more of the tour in the future.
“We would love as a council for us to say ‘Chesterfield and Derbyshire, we’re the home of women’s cycling’ - so we would love to see this event (again).” said Coun Serjeant.
“Obviously it is up to the organisers but that’s why we were chosen for the start and finish this year because it was such a massive, positive turnout by the people of Chesterfield and Derbyshire last year.
“They asked us again and I think it’s been even better this year, so I’m very hopeful that we will see it again.”